Black Market Soccer

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Sadly, slavery is not dead after all. This video shows a scene from the documentary "Soccer's Lost Boys." In this video, correspondent Mariana van Zeller goes undercover to explore the last, desperate hope of young West African players living illegally in Paris: a pick-up game with sketchy middle-men who try to sell the players to outside agents.

The reason that FIFA, the governing body of the sport, has decided to hold the World Cup in Africa for the first time has nothing to do with the beauty of safari Africa--featured so prominently in ESPN's promo package--with its epic vistas and silhouetted giraffes. The passion for soccer in Africa lives in less picturesque places, like the war-torn Ivory Coast and the coastal slums of Accra. The World Cup is being held in Africa because the future of soccer is very much entwined with the future of the developing world.

The trafficking of young African players may be news to soccer's many millions of fans, but it's an open secret among those who oversee the sport. A few years ago, Sepp Blatter, FIFA's president, even accused top European clubs of "social and economic rape" in their search for new talent in Africa. But despite those harsh words, little has actually been done.

Now that FIFA is raking in billions of dollars in TV rights and sponsorships from the Cup in Africa, perhaps it's time to give a little back. The most popular sport in the world shouldn't be turning its back on thousands of its own.

Learn more: Vanguard TV.

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Your assessment is spot on. I lived in Liberia for 17 years and football or (teballeh) is a religion,a way of life. The country comes to a complete stop. I still recall her first victory of rivals Ghana a two nil result with goals from Weah and Debah what followed was celebrations for what seemed like forever and a two day national holiday

By Ma Toe Sarkpei (not verified) on 17 Jun 2010 #permalink